Run to Alligator River

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here with the latest update on the north migration of Still Waters II and crew.

On Tuesday, August 18th, the crew left the little charming town of Oriental (population 900 in the 2010 census) and headed towards Belhaven, NC.

Shrimpers returning from sea
Shrimpers returning from sea

The crew was met with returning shrimp boats once they got out of the harbor.  The wind was calm and the large Neuse River looked like glass.  They found the Neuse River Junction with ease and made a left hand turn up the Bay River for 5 miles.

Neuse River
Neuse River

Then it was another 5 miles up Gale Creek and Upper Spring Creek.  The skipper gets a kick out of these names.  He says a creek back in Texas is usually dry in the summer and can easily be jumped over when full.  These creeks in the Carolina’s are at least a half mile wide, the rivers are miles wide, and the sounds look like oceans.  So much for everything is bigger in Texas.

Large body of water in these Carolina's
Large body of water in these Carolina’s

Five miles up Goose Creek dumped the crew into the Pamlico River.  It was 5 miles wide and led to the Pungo River.  It was 10 miles up the Pungo River when they reached Belhaven.  The crew decided to travel another 10 miles up-river and anchor for the evening at the mouth of the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal.

Anchorage spot at the south end of canal
Anchorage spot at the south end of canal

This canal was the last link of the ICW to open, which completed the Atlantic Inter Coastal Waterway back in September 1928.  Belhaven, the closest town, was the center of celebration to dedicate the opening.  Belhaven is the self – proclaimed “Birthplace of the ICW.”

South entrance to canal
South entrance to canal

On Wednesday, August 19th, the skipper was up about 0630 reading on the sundeck when a little fishing boat came darting by way to close.  The fishermen were yelling “Time to wake up, Time to wake up.”  The fishermen did not notice the skipper until he waved at them.  They immediately moved further away and quit yelling.  The skipper thinks these two are future Darwin Award winners.

The 20 miles through the canal were uneventful but beautiful.  The skipper had a keen eye out for deer and black bear but saw none. The crew did spot 2 flocks of turkeys and 1 bald eagle though.

As they exited the canal they entered the Alligator River. The crew was provided their own private air show while cruising the river. Two military jets were performing maneuvers overhead.  The jets would fly by, make an arcing u turn, fly into the distance, perform an aerial 360 degree loop and then buzz by Still Waters II at a low altitude. They performed this routine 4-5 times before finally disappearing in the horizon.

The crew’s timing for docking was perfect. The marina is known for its hamburgers cooked by Ms Wanda and the crew was looking forward to taste testing the burger. For some unknown reason, the marina store closed at 1500 rather than the usual 1800. The crew got tied up at the dock about 1400 and went over and ordered burgers. The dock hand had told the crew that Ms Wanda was closing the grill at 1430.  She did an excellent job of grilling the burgers and the crew was happy that they made it in time for last call.

IMG_0106
Alligator Marina

Still Waters II was the only vessel in the marina. This marina is geared for transient boaters making the spring and fall runs up and down the east coast. Looks to be a peaceful night in North Carolina.

All alone in the marina
All alone in the marina

Nothing could be finer

Than being in Carolina

In the morning…………

Next on the agenda is to cruise the Albemarle Sound.  The crew will divert off of the ICW and head over to Edenton, NC.  They will then work their way back east to Elizabeth City and prepare for the Dismal Swamp run.

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